Coupling Remote Sensing and Coral Annual Band Data to Investigate the History of Catchment Land Use and Coral Reef Status
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Using a combination of remote sensing (aerial photographic) and geochemical (coral annual band) data, we detected significant increases in sediment and nutrient discharge in response to land development during the past 50 years on Ishigaki Island, Southwest Japan. Correlates of coral reef decline were also detected using remote sensing (aerial photographic) data. Given that historical aerial photographs are available for many areas from as early as the 1900s and that long-lived corals can record paleoenvironmental conditions for more than 100 years, our approach could be applied to reconstructing changes in other coral reef regions worldwide since the early twentieth century or before.
KeywordsCoral reef Land-based pollution Remote sensing Coral annual band
This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Coral reef science for symbiosis and coexistence of humans and ecosystems under combined stresses” (No. 20121004) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. We thank collaborators in team B01 “Historic changes of coral reefs and their stressors,” who have published informative and insightful results. We also thank the residents of Shiraho village and WWF Japan for providing this research opportunity.
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